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Nyasa Times

President Bingu wa Mutharika has come out in the open to express disapproval of homosexuality in Malawi. The President commenting for the first time since the arrest and trial of gay couple, 26-year-old Steven Monjeza and 20-year-old Tiwonge Chimbalanga, said homosexuality was bizarre.

Mutharika who wedded with Callista on April 17 was speaking at the ordination of Monsignor Montfort Sitima as the auxiliary bishop of Blantyre Archdiocese of Blantyre. “Homosexuality is a strange act in the country,” Mutharika said. He said the country was being haunted by several ills, among them domestic violence, child abuse, cutting and selling of human privates.

The Malawi leader appealed to the clergy to continue praying to God so that the country could get rid of the said ills. The arrest of the gay couple last December, after they held a public engagement ceremony, at Chileka in Blantyre outraged human rights groups and Western donors in Malawi, one of Africa’s poorest nations. They are currently answering charges of buggery and indecent acts and face up to 14 years in jail. They remain on remand at the maximum security Chichiri prison.

Malawi Council of Churches (MCC) said recently they opposed any easing of laws criminalising same-sex marriages. Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe who heads MCC said the West should not be allowed to use its financial power to force Malawi to accept homosexuality. But Economics Association of Malawi president Thomas Munthali warned government against taking the issue of gay rights lightly.

In his contribution at a pre-budget consultation meeting for civil society and church leaders hosted by Finance Minister Ken Kandodo, economist Munthali advised government to discuss the matter with the donors and make its position clear. “We should not bury our heads in the sand and pretend that things are all right. We have to take a clear stand on the matter,” Munthali said.–Nyasa Times

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